Q: Do I have to see a movie to eat there?
A: Ha, no! We have indoor cafe seating and outdoor seating on our lakeside deck. That we have a film you’ll enjoy is not always a sure thing, but that we have food and drink you’ll enjoy is always guaranteed!
Q: So how does it all work?
A: We are a counter service restaurant. You grab a menu, you order at the counter, you take a seat, we bring you your food when it’s ready. If you want to order more, you head back up to the counter. Feel free to bus your own table as you leave!
Q: Can I make a reservation?
A: No, all our seating is first-come, first-serve. If you’re coming for lunch, you don’t have to worry, it rarely fills up. If you’re planning on dinner at 6pm or later and the weather’s nice, that’s another story. There’s always seating available, you just might not get that lakeside, perfectly-shaded table you managed to snag last time.
Q: What about if I have a large group?
A: Our largest indoor table seats 10, our largest outdoor table seats 6. That said, guests frequently take it upon themselves to move tables around to accommodate whatever their size of group may be. Even still, the most seats you’re probably going to reasonably be able to pull together is 12, and that’s only when we aren’t particularly busy.
Q: So what, you’re saying you don’t want our business? I’m talking 30 people here, you’re gonna turn that down?
A: Did you know we rent out our event space, with the optional addition of a portion of our back deck? Our rates are affordable, our catering menu mirrors the approach of our normal menu, and you won’t have to wait in any pesky lines. But if you aren’t willing to rent out the event space, then no, we do not have accommodations for groups even close to this size.
Q: Do you guys do to go orders?
A: Yes, as long as it’s not crazy busy, we welcome to go orders. Call the to go order line at 503-387-3236, but if you’re calling and calling and no one’s answering, we’re likely crazy busy.
Q: Are you all ages?
A: Yes, we even have high-chairs and booster seats (and a kid’s menu) for the wee-wee ones. The only place where kids aren’t allowed is at the 8-or-so seats along the main bar.
Q: Are you wheelchair accessible?
Q: Why don’t you guys provide table service?
A: It’s not what we do. We’re a casual place. We relish the opportunity to make you feel welcome / at home / et al., but assigning you a server is not the means by which we achieve this. Want table service? Try one of our neighbors!
Q: Do I tip?
A: Most guests do. We work as a team here, so all tips are pooled and split with the kitchen. Although we are not a full service restaurant, our cooks, cashiers, runners, and bartenders all work hard to provide you with a quality experience. And we’re able to hold onto such a great staff—their talent, their personalities, their hard work—thanks very much in part to you showing them your appreciation.
Q: There’s such a long line… why do you only have one register open?
A: This is a newer policy of ours (April 2016) but it works out well for us. The short answer to having only one line is to not bury the kitchen with orders. We are not a fast food restaurant, each dish is crafted with attention to detail and takes time. However, as we are a counter service restaurant, we can essentially take orders just as quickly as a fast food joint could. On a busy evening, the wait time for food increases for each successive order. So your next question might then be, “Fine, but open another register, at least then I’m sooner enjoying the back deck with my family and not standing waiting in line,” but the true issue is a psychological one.
Were you to be given two options, 1.) wait in line for 15 minutes and get your food in 30 minutes, or 2.) wait in line for 2 minutes and get your food in 43 minutes, the second choice is presumably the more appealing. Yet despite our best efforts to convey this 43 minute wait-time on food to our guests, there are invariably several guests coming to the kitchen window after 30 minutes asking why they still don’t have their food. When, however, one waits a while in line to order, they understand much better than the cashier can convey in words that yes, we are busy, things will take awhile, with the bonus being that while this individual waited in line, the kitchen was able to prepare other individual’s orders, meaning that the wait time for food from when actually placing the order will be even less. In other words, to prevent the severe irritation of some having to wait “too long” for their food, we opt for the mild annoyance of making all wait in line.
All this said, when the line gets of sufficient length, we’ll always open a second register for movie ticket and drink sales exclusively, for those patrons who have already ordered food or who aren’t ordering food. And keep in mind, as a business we’re constantly a work in progress, but how we’re doing things now is the best solution we’ve yet found.
Q: Why don’t you have a Happy Hour?
A: We’ve had one in the past and the money we lose is not compensated for by any uptick in business, so we’ve done away with having a Happy Hour entirely.
Q: Are you a part of Stickmen?
A: No. It’s one big building, in 1996 its then-owner couldn’t afford repairs following the Willamette Valley flood, and that’s when Drew Prell stepped in. He has always been the owner / operator of the theater portion (including its current iteration as Lake Theater & Cafe), and he has always rented out the other portion (currently to Stickmen).